The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls
The BEST Glazed Orange Rolls — These homemade orange rolls are filled with a buttery orange filling and are topped with a simple orange glaze. They can be prepped the night before, if needed.
Sweet Orange Rolls Recipe
These orange rolls have been on my mental to-make list for over two years. I finally made them, and they were so worth the wait. They’re the best sweet rolls I’ve ever had or made.
I wanted to make sure to get the dough just right. Buttery, soft, light, and fluffy is the only kind of sweet roll I want, and these deliver.
I used my favorite cinnamon roll dough as the jumping off place, but downsized the recipe between 25 to 33 percent. I wanted a slightly smaller batch because honestly the smaller the batch of fatty, fluffy, frosted carbs just laying around, the better. I also cut the rolls smaller, making 20 in a 9×13-inch pan rather than the standard 12, for some built-in portion control. Unless you go back for seconds or thirds. That may have happened.
The dough is buttermilk-based, and although I’ve made non-buttermilk sweet rolls before, for the softest, lightest, and most tender rolls, I swear by buttermilk. Between the eggs, butter, and buttermilk, the dough rises beautifully and it’s my new favorite dough base.
For the filling I used storebought orange marmalade, but if you have homemade, even better. I love the tiny bits of orange rind that are almost imperceptible in the finished rolls, but there’s just enough to add subtle texture.
The glaze is an orange juice-based confectioners’ sugar glaze, with orange zest stirred in for an extra pop of orange flavor. I also made the glaze using lemon juice when I was testing the recipe and if you’re a lemon fan, it’s a fun twist. The glaze is poured on as soon as the rolls come out of the oven. It soaks into the nooks and crannies and adds more moisture and softness to the already moist, soft orange cinnamon rolls.
Some glaze will drip through onto the bottom of the baking pan, so make sure to spoon it up and don’t waste of drop of that liquid gold.
These orange rolls are so soft, moist, tender, wonderfully sweet, and just irresistibly good. They’re one of the best things that has ever come out of my kitchen. Try them and you’ll be a believer, too. I promise. People here may have fought over who got the last one.
What’s in These Orange Rolls?
To make this orange cinnamon roll recipe, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Instant or dry yeast
- Unsalted butter
For the orange filling, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Orange marmelade
- Light brown sugar
And for the orange glaze, you’ll need:
- Orange juice
- Vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Milk or cream
- Orange zest
How to Make Orange Rolls
To make this sweet roll recipe, you first need to make the yeast dough. Once the dough comes together, let it rise for roughly 2 hours in a greased bowl, or until it’s doubled in size.
One the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a large rectangle. Spread the butter evenly over the dough, followed by the orange marmalade and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Gently roll up the orange roll dough and slice it into 20 even pieces.
Place the orange rolls into your prepared baking pan and let them rise for another hour, or until doubled in size. Once risen, bake the orange cinnamon rolls until they’re golden on top.
As soon as the orange rolls come out of the oven, whisk together the orange glaze and evenly drizzle it over the rolls. These beauties are best enjoyed immediately.
Can I Prep These Sweet Rolls the Night Before?
Yes, there’s an option to make the orange cinnamon rolls as overnight rolls. Start the dough at night, roll and shape it, and don’t let the dough rise. Then refrigerate the coiled rolls until you’re ready to bake the next morning. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
This way you don’t have to get up at 5am to have these ready with your first cup of coffee!
Can I Freeze Orange Rolls?
Yes, these sweet rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat the frozen rolls, set them on your counter to thaw and glaze them immediately prior to serving.
If you want to make these orange rolls in bulk in advance, I recommend baking these from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough.
Tips for Making Orange Rolls From Scratch
Because this is more of a special occasion breakfast, I recommend buying the exact ingredients I call for in the recipe and not making any substitutions. Real buttermilk makes a big difference in these orange rolls, as does real butter and sugar.
When slicing the orange cinnamon rolls, I highly suggest using dental floss instead of a knife to do the job. Floss doesn’t compress the rolls like a knife does, and it makes the process go more smoothly.
And if you have leftover orange rolls, you’ll want to keep them on your counter. If you store these in the fridge, they’ll dry out quickly.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
- pinch salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick), very soft – let it sit out while dough rises
- about 1 cup orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (orange extract may be substituted)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- pinch salt, optional and to taste (helps balance the sweetness)
- about 3 tablespoons milk or cream, or as needed for consistency
- 3 teaspoons orange zest, divided
Make the Dough
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or use a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon and your hands), add 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt; set aside.
- In 2-cup glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, and the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power.
- Add buttermilk to melted butter and warm to temperature, about 45 seconds on high power in the microwave. (Based on the type of yeast used, milk temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for warmer temperatures than most, 120 to 130F; other brands and yeast call for much lower temperatures, about 95 to 105F. Heat the mixture according to manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is highly recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the milk is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast.) If the milk separates or gets a little funny looking after being warmed, whisk it to smooth it out.
- Add butter-buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, crack and lightly whisk the eggs, and then add eggs to mixing bowl.
- Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to knead dough for about 5 to 7 minutes (about 7 to 10 minutes by hand using a wooden spoon and then switching to your hands). 3 cups of flour and 5 minutes is perfect for me, but if after 5 minutes your dough is very sloppy, wet, and won’t come together, add up to 1/4 cup flour, or as needed until it does come together. However, the more flour added, the denser and heavier the rolls will be; wetter dough is preferred to overly dry. If dough is dry or crumbly, drizzle in buttermilk until it comes together.
- Remove dough from the mixing bowl, spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, and flip it over once so it’s lightly oiled on both top and bottom.
- Cover bowl with plasticwrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or doubled in size. I keep my bowl inside a powered-off oven that I preheated for 1 minute to 400F, then it’s powered off. Do not, repeat do not, keep the oven on. The pre-heated, warm oven creates a nice 85F-ish environment, ideal for yeast. If your rising spot is cold, rising will likely take longer than 2 1/2 hours.
- While dough rises, line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Roll Out the Dough & Fill
- After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Turn dough out onto a Silpat or floured countertop.
- With a rolling pin, roll it out to about 26-by-13-inches. Use the 13-inch side of the 9-x13 pan to eyeball it, no need use a ruler.
- Using a knife, evenly spread butter over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch bare margin.
- Add about 3/4 cup marmalade, more as needed, and smooth it with a knife. It should be a thin-ish layer; too much and you risk it leaking, but not enough and the rolls aren’t orangey enough; use your judgment. The butter and marmalade get smeared together, which is okay.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the top, and lightly pat it down with your fingertips to help it adhere.
Slice the Dough
- Starting with a long edge (the 26-inch side), roll the dough into a tightly wound log, with the seam side down.
- Using a knife, make small hash marks so there will be 20 evenly sized rolls (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide; or make bigger rolls and yield 12 to 16). Hash marks create less guesswork once you start slicing and things get messier and harder to eyeball where to slice; the hash marks are nice place-markers.
- Use plain, unwaxed dental floss to slice the rolls. I highly recommend slicing the rolls with floss, not knives. Floss does not squish or compact the log like knives do.
- Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, 5 rows of 4 rolls across. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. (See note below)*
Bake the Orange Rolls
- Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and cooked through (ovens, dough, and climates vary and so will baking duration, but 1 to 2 minutes matters in this recipe). Watch rolls like a hawk and don’t overbake or they won’t taste nearly as good.
Make the Orange Glaze
- In a medium bowl, add the orange juice, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, optional salt, and whisk to combine; mixture will be thick.
- Drizzle in the milk as needed until mixture can be whisked smooth and is to desired consistency.
- Whisk in 2 teaspoons zest; set aside remainder.
- Evenly pour glaze over rolls.
- Evenly sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon zest.
- Serve immediately. Rolls are best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days; reheat in micro for about 5 seconds to re-soften or as desired. I am comfortable keeping glazed rolls at room temp and do not recommend storing them in the fridge because they will dry out.
*To make the orange rolls the night before: Don’t let rolls rise after they’ve been sliced and placed in covered pan. Place pan in refrigerator for up to 16 hours. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Then move onto the section labeled "Bake the Orange Rolls."
To freeze these rolls: Rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months; unthaw and glaze immediately prior to serving. I recommend baking them from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough, if you want to make in bulk in advance.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 42mg Sodium: 93mg Carbohydrates: 50g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 28g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g
More Cinnamon Roll Recipes:
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The BEST Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls — These truly are the best pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Soft, light, fluffy and there’s just enough pumpkin flavor to notice, but not so much that it overwhelms the inherent beauty of classic cinnamon rolls.